After 74 Years, Crown Market Saying Goodbye

The West Hartford family-owned business, famous for its kosher products, says it can no longer compete with national chains.

West Hartford's Crown Market is closing after 74 years in business. Credit: Patch File Photo
West Hartford's Crown Market is closing after 74 years in business. Credit: Patch File Photo
Heartbreak is spreading in West Hartford as word gets out that the beloved Crown Market is closing after 74 years in business.

The closure, which has left many shocked and saddened, was announced Tuesday in a statement posted on the market's website.

“We’re aware that hearing this news is as hard as sharing this news,” said Marc Bokoff, Crown Market's owner/operator. “If there were any other option, we would most certainly stay to serve the community we truly love. However, there are moments, passion aside, when you simply can’t fight the progress of time. For a family-owned kosher market, with more than a half-dozen national chains in all directions, it’s time for us to say goodbye.”

In its 74 years in business, Crown Market has become an icon on West Hartford's Albany Avenue, and a special place for generations of customers. But the business could not overcome what Bokoff described as “significant increases in competition, cost of goods, and one of the worst winters on record in a decade.”

Business will operate as usual with all fresh meat, deli, and bakery available for sale until products are gone. To assure that there are no wasted goods, but to provide an opportunity for customers to stockpile products only found at The Crown, the store will operate until inventory has been exhausted. Crown says all catering commitments through Friday, Feb. 28, will be fully addressed. 

“Our biggest concern, at this time is for our team,” Bokoff said. “Many called this store their second home for decades, and assuredly this news is hitting pretty hard. We are working with each colleague individually to provide whatever support and referrals possible.“

“On behalf of the entire Crown Market family, thank you…one and all for your loyal support. I ask that in a reflection of our faith, that we not dwell on this short window of sadness, but on the generations of joy we all experienced from the food that this market has provided,” Bokoff said. “We have had a longer and greater history than most, as well as an impeccable reputation every step of the way. As a result, we all have much to be proud of.”

Just as soon as word broke that the beloved market is closing, a petition was started on change.org to keep it open. The petition already has more than 300 signatures, and a handful of comments from supporters, including these:

  • "It's an institution that is well loved. I grew up going there and always stop there when I come back. Not only do I buy groceries when in town, but I bring my favorites back to Phoenix."

  • "i dont think i can survive without your tuna, rugala, and pickles!"

What will you miss most about Crown Market?
amystery726 February 19, 2014 at 07:16 AM
Their bakery and deli counter will be missed a lot! Maybe there's a way to "downsize" and keep some aspect of the market going - what they can specialize in that other markets don't do. Maybe re-invent as a market/deli restaurant? That has been missing in WH for many years.
Atan Miller February 19, 2014 at 07:45 AM
The deli and the prepared meals. High quality and good taste. Those will be hard to replace. Plus meeting many friends while shopping.
Virginia Ryan February 19, 2014 at 08:51 AM
They were extremely generous to the homeless shelters which brought much happiness! They will surely be missed. We should be supporting local small businesses!!!
Dianne Rechel February 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Oh no!! I have dreaded this day since that big box store opened around the corner. Drats. I remember when it was the only market open on Sundays and my mom used to send me there on my bike to get all sorts of wonderful things. A pan of latkes- yum! Their veggie lasagne is to swoon over, all of their deli items, the almond horns, kugel, the hamentaschen- where am I going to get them? I am grateful that they stayed in business this long, and hope that there might be a slim chance someone will carry on the tradition. Support local businesses!
Shmil Kasriel ben Shaul February 19, 2014 at 01:58 PM
Is it possible that when the Crown Market replaced its strict Orthodox kashrut supervision with Conservative supervision, that many religious customers stopped buying there? And this led to the demise?
Lew Block February 20, 2014 at 05:16 PM
I am guilty, I shop at the crown for specialty items like bakery or deli. Do I buy pasta or paper towels or cereal there? No, I go to Big Y or Wal-Mart for that. And I guess they couldn't survive on just the specialty business, and not the core items. Mr. Shaul, I am not kosher (not even Jewish actually) so that doesn't matter to me.
joynote February 20, 2014 at 09:18 PM
I am guilty of using only the bakery and deli department. I love what the Crown has to offer and will sorely miss getting mattchas herring and challah for break fast.


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